Saturday, July 11, 2009

Chinese Wedding
Dowry


What other wedding tradition to be carried out before the wedding day?

It is the delivery of the bride's dowry to the couple's new home or groom's family (if the couple is going to live with the groom's family). This ritual usually performs any time after the betrothal and gift return ceremonies, up to a day before the wedding day. Dowry gives the bride's family the opportunity to display both their social status and their love for their daughter. It consists of valuable jewelry and other auspicious items as follows.

1. Cane Sugar: Symbolizes sweetness in marriage. (片糖,喻意甜甜蜜蜜)

2. Vase: Symbolizes prosperity of the new family. (花瓶,喻意花开富贵)

3. Purse/Wallet and Belt: Represents wealth.
(钱包和皮带, 取其腰缠万贯之意)


4. Ruler
Wishing the newlywed to have many acres of land (properties) in future.
(尺,取其万顷良田之意)

They use ruler as a symbol to measure their land/properties.

*In old days, sky-high buildings are rare.

Therefore, acres of land represent wealth of the individual/family.
*In modern days, shop lots and office buildings are everywhere.
Therefore, properties such as house and car represent wealth of the family.

5. Two Sets of Clothing
(衣服布料,喻意丰衣足食)^


6. Dragon-Phoenix/Double Happiness Bedding Set ^
*Including bed linen, pillow cases, and blanket.

7. Two Pairs of Bowls and Chopsticks (chopsticks tied together with red string) ^
(子孙碗筷, 取其有衣食之意)

^ Items 5, 6, and 7 as a symbol of good living.

8. Chinese Tea Set
*Including tea tray, teapot, and tea cups.

9. Bronze Tray/Basin with A Pair of Shoes: Symbolizes eternal love.
(铜盘和鞋子, 取其同偕白首之意)
*In modern days, the bronze tray usually replaced by red plastic basin.

10. Scissors: Symbolizes everlasting love.
(剪刀,取其蝴蝶双飞,双双对对之意)

11. Chinese Spittoon (literally known as off-spring bucket)
(子孙桶,即痰盂,喻意百子千孙)


A string of gold coins, cypress, and red packet will be put inside the spittoon.

When dowry is delivered to the groom's family,
all goodies inside will be removed and distributed to children.
Then, a young boy, preferably born in the year of dragon,
will be invited to pass urine into the spittoon.
- As a ritual wishes for a boy child for the newlywed.

*In modern days, red plastic bucket has been used as a substitute to spittoon.

12. Last but not least, jewelries for the bride.
They usually include a pair of gold dragon and phoenix bangles
as a blessing to the newlywed.






Happy Planning and stay tune for our hair combing ceremony posting!







Sources:
Malaysia Wedding Handbook, 2007, Sky Publisher
Chinese Wedding Dowry List, China Bridal, http://www.chinabridal.com

Photo Credits:
Chinese Wedding Dowry Containers, http://www.palmspringscorridor.com
Dowry Set, SG Club, http://www.sgclub.com
Spittoon, BigShipSalvage.com, http://www.bigshipsalvage.com
Cane Sugar, http://www.21food.cn
Antique Vase, http://www.flickr.com/photos
Wood Ruler, http://www.cleansweepsupply.com
Fabric Rolls, Anta Online Shop, http://www.anta.co.uk
Men's Clothing, Tree Hugger, http://www.treehugger.com
Women's Clothing, Tree Hugger, http://www.treehugger.com
Bedding Set, http://www.lightinthebox.com
Chinese Bowl and Chopsticks, http://www.fotosearch.com
Tea Set, Chinese Tea Ceremony, http://hamelwedding.livejournal.com/
Scissors, http://www.greenlightoffice.com/
Gold Bangle, http://www.ebay.com/
Red Packets, http://h2cards.com/

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